LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Leaders in Southwest Florida are making sure people have more access to mental health care with new training for anyone in the community!
It's first aid, but for mental illness symptoms rather than physical and there’s good reason they’re doing this.
According to the group, “Mental Health in America," Florida ranks right in the middle when it comes to people not only needing care but having access to care for those suffering with mental health issues
"They can get better and they can live normal, functioning lives," Dr. Abbe Finn, visiting professor at Florida Gulf Coast says more resources are popping up when it comes to mental health, but in the case that you are someones first line of defense you can be there for them until they get the help they need.
"Kids, friends, parents, teachers, councilors, coaches, ministers, doctors, nurses, all of those are aware of the signs because those individuals might be the ones that the child actually turns to," Dr. Finn adds that most adults who suffer from mental health are dealing with something for their childhood.
"So that underscores for me the need to have mental health counseling available to school age kids high school, middle school, elementary school kids and at a more systemic way and systemic level," Dr. Finn said.
This is why the Florida Department Of Health in Lee County is providing adult mental health first aid training.
Amanda Evans, a health educator with the FDOH, who was also the educator at the course on Thursday says with limited mental health resources, for some, programs like this are important.
"If you know signs and symptoms of a mental health disorder then you can kinda help someone stabilize for a little bit and get them to that professional treatment that is best for them," Evans said.
Those who attended the free course learned how to respond to both crisis and non-crisis situations with the mental health for adults action plan:
- Assess for risk of suicide or harm.
- Listen non-judgmentally.
- Give reassurance and information.
- Encourage appropriate professional help.
- Encourage self-help and other support strategies.
It’s in those precious moments that you can show someone you care, when they’re at a low point, seeing their life through tunnel vision, which is why Nancy Benavides attended the event, "Many people that i come in contact with are having difficulties right now."
Benavides says she not only attended because she's been through depression herself, but she hopes to start a support group, for some of her church members who are trying to cope with some form of mental illness.
"Many of my friends have and as you get older, it’s much more common I think, so this was very beneficial and i would recommend it for churches, workplaces, everyone," Benavides said.
This is the second time FDOH has hosted the course and due to the overwhelming success they will be holding another one in August.
If you or anyone you know is suffering, here are a list of places you can contact:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line - Text HOME to 741741 for free, 24/7 crisis counseling.
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: 1-888-333-AFSP (2377)
- Suicide Awareness Voices of Education: 952-946-7998
The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., ET.
1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email@example.com
- Fort Myers Vet Center 239-652-1861
- Lee County VA Clinic 239-652-1800
- Port Charlotte VA Clinic 941-235-2710
- Naples Vet Center 239-403-2377
- Naples Vet Clinic 239-659-9188
- Salus Care Emergency Number : 239-275-4242 or 911
- David Lawrence Center 239-455-8500 or 911